A controversial group of priests with a history of taking “heretical” stances on social issues is gathering in Bloomington, Minnesota, this week for its annual conference, prompting two days of protests from concerned Catholics in the area.
The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests kicked off its four-day annual assembly Monday at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington. A handful of priests and bishops are speaking at the event, including Fr. Michael Joncas, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. and Minneapolis and an employee of the University of St. Thomas.
“The AUSCP is pushing women’s ordination, priestless parishes, homosexuality in the priesthood, acceptance of homosexual relationships, and collaborated with other condemned and heretical organizations like New Ways Ministry, Dignity USA, FutureChurch, Voice of the Faithful, and others,” said the Lepanto Institute, which is holding rosary rallies outside the Bloomington hotel Tuesday and Wednesday at 1 p.m.
On at least two occasions, the AUSCP has allowed New Ways Ministry to set up promotional booths at its events. New Ways Ministry has been condemned by both the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for its failure to adhere to Church teaching on homosexuality.
“Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States,” the late Cardinal Francis George said in a 2010 statement.
The AUSCP also maintained a relationship with Beverly Bingle, a woman who was excommunicated for her “attempted priestly ordination” and “continual simulation of the sacraments.” This fits with the AUSCP’s central mission of promoting female ordination to the diaconate and priesthood.
According to the Lepanto Institute, the AUSCP endorsed the priestly ordination of women in a 2019 white paper and has garnered the support of high-profile prelates like Cardinals Blase Cupich and Wilton Gregory.
More recently, the left-wing organization promoted legislation that would force Catholic adoption agencies to work with homosexual and transgender couples at the risk of losing federal funding.
The association is a member of the International Church Reform Network, which includes several pro-LGBT and women’s ordination groups.
Tuesday’s rosary rally will be led by Fr. James Altman ahead of his sold-out event in White Bear Lake.
The Lepanto Institute said the rallies are intended to “make reparation for the crimes of heresy, blasphemy, and sacrilege committed by this group of priests.”